Friday, October 4, 2013

Pre-Assessments Made Meaningful!

Okay, I will be the first to admit this sheet looks boring.  I mean how much data can you get from this basic worksheet anyway?  First, let's discuss.  What are preassessments for?  To guide instruction right?  To show growth?  So often, we give preassessments and then never do anything with them.  What's the point?  We are all too busy to do anything that isn't valuable.  This is where this technique comes into place.

Step One- Give the preassessment.  The nice thing about this sheet is that it can be used for anything.  Students write the main topic in the center and then you offer them four specific questions for them to repond to in the boxes.  Here are some ideas...but I am sure you will come up with better ones!

Topic- polygons
Box one- what are examples of polygons?
Box two- what are examples of shapes that are not polygons?
Box three- what are rules for polygons?
Box four- what are examples of regular polygons?

Topic- non-fiction
Box one- what are examples of non-fiction books?
Box two- what are examples of books that are not non-fiction?
Box three- how would you define non-fiction?
Box four- what genres fall under the non-fiction category?

You get the idea.

Now here's the hard part.  Students need to write in colored pencil and they need to write relatively small. 

Step two- Use the assessment.  Look for trends for whole group lessons, ways you can group students into small groups, possibly even topics you can skip entirely because your whole class are already experts (not that happens frequently, but you never know).  No need to grade them, just take notes to help you teach.


Step three- In a few weeks, after some instruction, give the assessment back to the student.  Have them add to it, cross things out, etc. in a different colored pencil.  This is the best evidence that your instruction matters.  Students will see how much more they know, you can use it to guide your instruction again, parents and administrators will love to see the growth.  And the best part?  Almost no planning. 

What great ways do you use pre-assessments?